What is a Gimbal and How Do You Use One?

Have you ever wondered how some creators are able to capture smooth and stable footage? The answer is simple - they use a gimbal! Get ready to dive into the details of what a gimbal is, how it works, and how you can use these camera stabilizers to add a seamless and professional layer to your content creation process.

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Lights, camera, action! Filmmakers, YouTubers, and content creators alike know that capturing smooth, stable footage is essential for engaging their audience and making their content stand out among the competition. 

How can they achieve such a professional look with smooth transitions, you ask? Enter the gimbal! While the first camera stabilizer, the Steadicam, was invented in 1975 by Garret Brown, today, various gimbals are available in different shapes, sizes, and price points. 

Our article covers every essential bit about gimbals, from what a gimbal camera is and how it works to how you can choose the right gimbal for your needs to create that wow effect in your videos. So grab your camera, and let's jump right into the world of camera stabilization!

What is a Gimbal?

A gimbal is a camera stabilizer that helps to keep your camera steady camera level and steady, even when you're on the move. But wait, there's more! Gimbals aren't just for shooting smooth and steady videos - they're also great for taking awesome and blur-free outdoor photos as well!


A camera gimbal uses a set of motors and sensors to keep your camera leveled around an axis and eliminate camera shakes, giving you silky-smooth footage that will have your audience glued to the screen even if you're walking, running, or jumping while capturing a shot.


There are several types of gimbals available, including handheld, wearable, and drone gimbals, with handheld gimbals being the most popular among vloggers and content creators. 

These versatile tools are compact and relatively easy to set up. That is why a gimbal can be a perfect addition to your video production arsenal - especially if you want to have a successful career as a YouTuber and make money on YouTube.


What is the Use of a Gimbal in Music?

If you are considering using a gimbal to make your next music video a hit, you will be glad to hear that gimbals are just for the pros and content creators - they are a wonderful tool for shooting high-pace music videos as well! 


Gimbals are becoming more and more popular in music videos, given that they can shoot smooth and stable footage even when you are dancing and moving around. With the gimbal's ability to lock onto a single object or person and track their movements, you can capture every single dance move without a sweat.

What is a Gimbal and How Do You Use One?

Do You Need a Gimbal to Shoot a Music Video?

A gimbal can be useful for creating smooth footage in a music video, but it is not always a must. In fact, some music videos are intentionally shot with a shaky camera to create a certain aesthetic. However, if you're looking to create a professional-looking music video, a gimbal can definitely help.


By having your footage look and feel natural, you can combine your video editing skills with the elevating power of your music to add a great amount of emotional depth to your music videos. 


Why Should You Use a Gimbal?

The various advantages of using a gimbal include the following:


  • Ease of Use: Most gimbals come with instructions that are easy to follow and a mobile app that you can use to program and control your shots with just a few clicks.
  • Versatility: A gimbal can be used in a variety of different situations. Whether you're shooting a vlog, a music video, a short film, or photographs, a gimbal can be a great companion to capture professional-looking footage effortlessly.
  • Compact Design: One of the major benefits of a gimbal is its compact design. If you are looking for a lightweight gimbal that is smaller in size, you can go for a mobile camera gimbal. This way, having your gimbal around will be easy wherever you go. 
  • Enhanced Stability: In addition to their portability, gimbals can also be placed on top of tripods for added stability. This allows you to create even smoother shots and be more flexible with your camera placement. Plus, you can mount your gimbal on a tripod to easily switch between handheld shots and tripod shots without having to readjust your camera setup.
  • Panoramic Footage: You can adjust your gimbal to automatically take photographs when turning left or right on a horizon. The gimbal can then stitch these photos together to create a panoramic effect. If you have been wondering how to make a 360 video without a 360 camera, now you know!


Is It Worth Getting a Gimbal?

If you are a content creator who has their mind set on creating high-quality video content, then investing in a gimbal will definitely be worth it for you. As the motors in a gimbal allow you to program your shots the way you want them to turn out, a gimbal can make your videos shine out from the rest by giving them a professional-looking and engaging touch.


This can come in handy, especially when monetizing your content on Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook, as creating high-quality and authentic videos help you get more exposure and reach a wider audience. So whether you are an aspiring filmmaker, a social media influencer, or just someone who loves capturing life’s moments on camera, a gimbal is a game-changer you won't want to miss out on!


By having higher views and a larger follower base, you can unlock that milestone of monetizing your content more easily and quickly.  If you are confused about how monetization works and want to learn how to monetize YouTube videos the proper way, you can follow the link for more information.


Let’s not forget that audio quality and audio enhancements are what will add that unique touch to your content! However, using copyrighted music in your videos prevents you from monetizing your content on any social media platform. 


The good news is, Snapmuse’s extensive royalty-free music and sound effects library has an abundance of high-quality tracks from various genres, moods, and usage areas you can use in your creative projects without worrying about copyright claims. Start your 30-day free trial today and explore our royalty-free music and sound effects library to find the perfect track that will set the right mood for your content. 

How Does a Gimbal Work?

Now that we've covered what a gimbal is and why you should use one, let's take a closer look at how a gimbal works.


A gimbal uses a system of motors and sensors to keep your camera level, even when you're moving around. The motors are responsible for moving the gimbal in response to your movements, while the sensors detect the movement and adjust the motors accordingly.


Some gimbals also have additional features, such as follow mode and lock mode. Follow mode allows the gimbal to follow your movements, keeping the camera pointed at you at all times. Lock mode, on the other hand, keeps the camera locked in a certain position, allowing you to capture a specific shot.


What is a 3-Axis Gimbal?

A 3-axis gimbal is a sophisticated camera stabilization system that has three axes of movement - pitch, roll, and yaw. Each axis controls a different type of movement, and together, they create a stable and smooth platform for filming. It is almost like having a personal camera crew with you at all times! 


When it comes to gimbals, understanding the pitch, yaw, and roll axis is crucial to achieving the perfect shot. So, let’s look into how the pitch, roll, and yaw axis work in detail:

Pitch Axis

The pitch axis is responsible for controlling the up and down movement of your camera. With this axis, you can tilt the camera up or down to capture different angles. This is especially useful for shooting videos from different perspectives. For instance, if you are shooting a music video and want to capture the crowd's reaction, you can tilt the camera upwards to capture the energy and excitement of the crowd.


What is a Gimbal and How Do You Use One?

Roll Axis

The roll axis controls the side-to-side movement of the camera, which enables you to roll the camera left or right and create cinematic movements such as tracking shots. Turning on the roll-follow function of a gimbal means your camera will roll along with your movements, allowing you to capture smooth footage while maintaining a consistent level horizon. This is perfect for creating cinematic shots or capturing movement in your videos.


Yaw Axis

The yaw axis controls the rotation of the camera, allowing it to pan left or right. This means you can pan the camera left or right to capture the surroundings or follow a moving object. Many gimbals come with a yaw-follow mode, which allows the camera to follow the gimbal's movement, making it easier to capture action shots. This is particularly useful when filming sports or fast-moving subjects, as it allows you to keep the subject in the frame without any shaky movements.


However, it is worth noting that depending on your project and aesthetic vision, you may want to turn off the axis follow modes at times. Locking in all of the modes, including yaw, tilt, and roll, can create more static shots, especially when you are following a moving object or a person in your shot.

How to Use a Gimbal

Using a gimbal is relatively easy, but as always, practice makes perfect! Keep these in mind before getting started:


  1. Balance Your Camera: Before you start using your gimbal, it's important to make sure that your camera is properly balanced. This means adjusting the gimbal so that the camera is centered and level.
  2. Hold the Gimbal Properly: When using a handheld gimbal, it's important to hold it properly. Most gimbals have a handle or grip that you can hold onto. Make sure that you're holding the gimbal with both hands and that you're keeping your arms close to your body. This will help to reduce arm fatigue and create smoother footage.
  3. Practice Your Movements: Using a gimbal requires a bit of finesse. It's important to practice your movements so that you can create smooth footage. Start by walking slowly and steadily, and then gradually increase your pace.
  4. Use Follow Mode: If your gimbal has a follow mode, using this feature will help you keep the camera pointed at you or your focal object at all times, creating smoother footage. Just make sure that you're not moving too quickly, as this can cause the gimbal to lose track of you.

Once you are happy with the footage you captured, it is important to edit it properly to elevate the quality of your footage and make it more engaging. You can consider adding music and sound effects to your videos to highlight certain parts of your footage and get smoother transitions.

For all your musical needs, don’t forget to check out our royalty-free music and sound effects library here at Snapmuse! Whether you are an experienced videographer or a content creator who is at the beginning of their journey looking for YouTube channel ideas, our extensive royalty-free music and sound effects library can help you soundtrack your content in a way that resonates with your creative style the best.


Music Video: How Can I Fix Gimbal Movement?

If you are shooting a music video with a gimbal, you may encounter some issues if your gimbal moves too quickly, causing the footage to become distorted. To fix this issue, try slowing down your movements and adjusting the gimbal settings. You can also try switching to a slower shutter speed to reduce motion blur.


Which Gimbal Should You Buy?

Once you decide to give filming with a gimbal a try, the next step is choosing which one will be the best option for your creative projects.


Choosing the right gimbal for your camera for long-term use can be an overwhelming process when there are so many options out there - but fear not! Popular brands like DJI, Zhiyun, and Feiyutech offer a wide range of gimbals to fit your needs and budget. 


Paying attention to these factors before you make a purchase will help you decide which gimbal is the right one for you:

  • Compatibility: Some gimbals are designed to work with specific models, while others offer more versatility. So, you should check if the gimbal you set your eyes on is compatible with your camera beforehand.
  • Weight and Size: If you're planning to use the gimbal for long periods, you want something lightweight that won't weigh you down. However, a larger camera may require a larger and more heavy-duty gimbal.
  • Battery Life: Not all gimbals are designed equally in terms of battery life. Some gimbals have longer battery life than others, so if you plan on using your gimbal for extended periods of time, consider investing in a gimbal with a larger battery. Checking if the gimbal can be attached to an external battery pack is also a good idea to recharge your gimbal on the go.
  • Gimbal Type: Choosing the right gimbal type is important when deciding which gimbal to buy. DSLR gimbals are designed for larger cameras and lenses, while mirrorless camera gimbals are typically lighter and more compact. On the other hand, smartphone gimbals like iPhone gimbals are specifically designed to hold smartphones securely and provide stabilization for smooth footage.


What are the Cons of Using a Gimbal?

While a gimbal can definitely help to create smooth and stable footage, there are also some downsides to using one. They are as follows:


  • Carrying your gimbal around can be tricky: One of the main drawbacks is that gimbals can be bulky and difficult to carry around.
  • Recalibrating your gimbal when switching cameras: Gimbals require a bit of setup and calibration before use. So, trying out your gimbal on different cameras can be a little challenging at first until you get the hang of it. 
  • Battery life: Running out of battery in the middle of a shoot can be a frustrating experience and can even ruin your footage if you don't have a backup plan. While most gimbals have decent battery life, you never know how long your shoot might take, especially if you're filming outdoors. So, having spare batteries or a portable charger with you is a good idea if you need to recharge your gimbal while on the go.
  • Compatibility: While many gimbals are designed to work with a wide range of cameras, some may only be compatible with specific models or brands.


Handheld vs. Gimbal

All the features that a gimbal has to offer might sound good in all, but isn’t it possible to capture seamless shots with handheld shooting? Well, deciding whether handheld shooting or using the help of a gimbal to stabilize your footage actually all depends on your aesthetic vision and the shooting equipment you have under your hands. 


For example, when shooting with a smartphone that has an image stabilization feature, handheld shooting can create a more organic and documentary-style look. However, you might find it difficult to level the horizon without a gimbal when you are filming low-level shots. 


A gimbal, on the other hand, creates a smooth and stable look, but it can sometimes look too perfect, and you might not want to lose that natural, spontaneous effect you would get with handheld shooting if you are at the beginning of your content creation journey. 


If you are a content creator looking for more useful guides to take your content to the next level, you can take a look at our articles to find answers to the questions you might have, such as what YouTube cards are, how to add sound effects to a video, what is a TikTok share bot and why you should avoid it, and many more!


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